Warner Robins, GA – My nephew Kaleb and I drove up to Warner Robins from Savannah today and visited the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB. It’s the first time I’ve been in over a year and the first time Kaleb’s been in a long time. The main reason I went up was to see what kind of progress they’re making on their recently acquired B-17 and I thought Kaleb would enjoy since he’s out of school this week – so I invited him along for the trip.
The museum’s B-17G, 44-83690, seems to be in the stripping/cleaning phase of restoration. It is in a multitude of pieces and is mostly down to the bare metal on the exterior. The instrument panel is complete and they have it on display in front of the fuselage. The fuselage is in half with the wings, horizontal stabilizer, and vertical stabilizer removed. The stabilizers and wings are on display nearby (one wing section is nicely displayed so that you can see the turbo-superchargers and recess for the main landing gear). It reminded me of the early days of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum’s B-17G, and if that project was any indicator it will take the museum awhile to complete the restoration. That said, they’ve made a good bit of progress already!
The museum’s new P-51H, 44-64265, was almost finished with its restoration when I visited in October 2015 (they were mounting the propeller that day). It’s now completed and is on display with the other World War II aircraft. 44-64265 is beautifully turned out and truly looks sharp sitting next to the museum’s B-29. One of only six P-51Hs remaining in existence, 44-64265 is the only one on public display. Although it didn’t see combat, it is painted to resemble one that did.
I always have to take some photos of my favorites when I’m at the museum and today was no exception. The MH-53 Pave Low has always been a favorite of mine and the museum’s MH-53M 70-1626 is a veteran of long service to her country; among the conflicts she saw service in were Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom. They also have a triumvirate of reconnaissance aircraft on display together: a U-2, SR-71, and RQ-4. There aren’t very many places where you can see those three together showing the progression of aerial reconnaissance technology. I also have a love of Forward Air Controller aircraft such as the museum’s O-1, O-2, OV-10, and A-10. Having Kaleb along also let me try to pass on some of my enthusiasm for military aviation and military history; today I told him about the air combat in Vietnam between the F-4s and MiG-17s.
It’s worth noting that a number of aircraft have been moved in to the display hangars and appear to be in various phases of or about to undergo restoration. The F-86 is in the Century of Flight hangar, where it’s been for awhile, but looks like it might be about ready to go back on display. Some of the outside aircraft (such as the C-141) have been moved around as well.
If you have any interest, even just a passing one, in aviation the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB is well worth the visit.